News

E-scooter trial in Coventry is paused after riders mount pavements and zip through shopping areas

Coventry has halted its e-scooter trial after riders mounted pavements and zipped through shopping areas – after the pilot was pulled from another town before it could even begin. 

Tees Valley Combined Authorities launched the Government-backed initiative to boost the number of e-scooters on Britain’s roads, by starting with 50 vehicles in Middlesborough.

It had planned to expand to Hartlepool, but a series of complaints led to the scheme being pulled from the town. 

Speaking at the time, Hartlepool’s MP Mike Hill said e-scooters were ‘as useful as a chocolate fireguard’.

Local authorities, including in Milton Keynes, above, have been able to launch 12-month pilots into e-scooter rental around towns and cities. But pedestrians have complained about riders

Local authorities, including in Milton Keynes, above, have been able to launch 12-month pilots into e-scooter rental around towns and cities. But pedestrians have complained about riders 

The Labour MP told The Independent: ‘Using scooters to get people off buses as a way of beating either climate change or coronavirus is farcical. It is fiddling while Rome burns. Whatever the question, e-scooters in Hartlepool are not the answer.’

Coventry has followed suit, becoming the first city to suspend the scheme amid concerns over safety. 

Just five days after the vehicles, which are limited to 15mph, were legally allowed in the city as part of a 12-month pilot, the local authority has paused its rental scheme with Swedish company Voi.

The Department for Transport launched a new 12 month scheme at the start of July which would make it legal to ride e-scooters on roads – they would, however, need to be rented and would be capped at 15.5mph.

Coventry has paused its e-scooter pilot amid complaints from pedestrians - despite locals taking 5,000 rides in its first five days

Coventry has paused its e-scooter pilot amid complaints from pedestrians – despite locals taking 5,000 rides in its first five days

YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 34, became the first person in the UK to die in an e-scooter accident when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea in July 2019

YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 34, became the first person in the UK to die in an e-scooter accident when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea in July 2019

Local authorities have to opt into the scheme, while private companies provide the hire-vehicles. 

According to The Times, around 5,000 rides were taken in Coventry in the first few days of the scheme.   

Pedestrians quickly flocked to Facebook to talk about near misses with the two-wheeled vehicles.

One said she had been almost ‘knocked over by about four of these in the space of five minutes on Friday night,’ The Times reports.

Others complained about reckless riders who were mounting pavements in the city centre.

Tees Valley Combined Authorities launched the Government-backed initiative to boost the number of e-scooters on Britain's roads, by starting with 50 vehicles in Middlesborough.

Tees Valley Combined Authorities launched the Government-backed initiative to boost the number of e-scooters on Britain’s roads, by starting with 50 vehicles in Middlesborough. 

But the local authority scrapped plans to expand the pilot to Hartlepool after the scheme caused complaints

But the local authority scrapped plans to expand the pilot to Hartlepool after the scheme caused complaints

Coventry City Council paused the scheme on Monday. 

A spokesman for the council said: ‘The initial take-up has been encouraging but we need to ensure that the safety of all people using the city centre is protected and that the e-scooters are used in the proper way, hence our decision to pause the pilot until systems are improved.’ 

Where can I ride an e-scooter? It’s okay on the roads… but not on the pavements 

Riding rental e-scooters on the roads and cycle paths became legal on July 4. 

However, riding these scooters on pavements will remain illegal and will only be allowed in pre-approved locations where the hiring scheme is taking place. 

It will still be illegal to ride privately-owned electric scooters on the pavement, roads and cycle paths.

You can only ride your own e-scooter on private land, with permission from the person who owns the land. 

You must have a driving licence or a provisional driving licence and be at least 16 years old to hire an electric scooter. 

They will be limited to a maximum speed of 15.5mph and it’s recommended that riders wear a helmet, though it isn’t mandatory.  

Privately-owned e-scooters cannot be legally ridden on the roads because they don’t always have visible rear red lights, number plates or signally ability. 

They are treated the same as motor vehicles because they are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs). 

This means they are subject to the same legal requirements as other motor vehicles and must therefore have MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction.   

Riding rental e-scooters on the roads and cycle paths became legal on July 4. 

Milton Keynes and Birmingham have successfully launched the scheme, with around 50 local authorities thought to be interested. 

However, riding these scooters on pavements will remain illegal and will only be allowed in pre-approved locations where the hiring scheme is taking place. 

It will still be illegal to ride privately-owned electric scooters on the pavement, roads and cycle paths.

You can only ride your own e-scooter on private land, with permission from the person who owns the land. 

You must have a driving licence or a provisional driving licence and be at least 16 years old to hire an electric scooter. 

Road safety groups and charities advocating for protection of people with sensory difficulties have raised serious objections to the legalisation of e-scooters.

Andrew Hodgson, president of the National Federation for the Blind, said in June: ‘After learning about the accidents e-scooters have caused, it is very clear to me they are not fit for purpose.

‘Riders appear to fall from them very easily, causing serious head injuries along with many broken bones.

‘It is also clear from practical experience, dockless e-scooters simply do not work as the machines can end up anywhere in the city.

‘This causes totally random potential barriers to access across city pavement and public space for disabled and elderly people and mothers with buggies.

‘At a time of social distancing when urgency has been placed by the Government on active travel, it is critical that all spare public space on the highway is protected for walking and cycling.

‘E-scooters will only take people away from active travel and those embracing walking and cycling will be faced with danger and chaos if e-scooters are legalised in the UK.’ 

There were 32 collisions involving e-scooters in 2019, including Emily Hartridge, who was the only fatality.

YouTube star and TV presenter Ms Hartridge became the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an e-scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, south London, in July last year.

Tags

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close
Close